Announced a few weeks ago, New Super Mario Bros 2 is a sequel to the 29 million copy selling DS smash hit, featuring more of the same 2D platforming, coin collecting, Goomba-stomping goodness we've come to know and love, only this time, it's on Nintendo's latest handheld, the 3DS. At the recent gaming convention, E3, the game was demonstrated before a packed, and excited audience, where we got to learn a little bit more about what the game has in store, and how for Mario, Gold is the new everything.
While evil-twin brother Wario has gained a bit of a reputation as a rather, er, 'financially motivated' character, with all his get rich quick schemes in previous games, Mario's taste for the finer things in life (specifically, gold coins) has largely gone unnoticed. Until now - because New Super Mario Bros 2 is all about the money, money, money. Each level is littered with gold coins, whether they're raining down from overhead pipes, being left behind by enemies as they stroll along, or down the golden pipes that transport you to the Mushroom Kingdom equivalents of bank vaults. There's even special golden versions of power-ups that generate even more cash, such as the Golden Fire Flower, which burns through everything in it's path, converting it into oodles of coins.
As is always the case, Bowser's kidnapped Princess Peach again, holding her captive in his castle – although, according to Nintendo, and we quote - “Mario has another objective”. We can imagine it now – fed up of being the Mushroom Kingdom's dogsbody, Mario has finally come to his senses and realised he's nothing but a pawn in the 'secret' Boswer/Peach love affair. After all, surely she would have improved her security after the first few times if she really was in danger? And Bowser can't be that much of a bad guy – otherwise he'd be permanently left out of all the sporting tournaments that take place in the Mushroom Kingdom. So when Peach feigns capture for the umpteenth time in a row, Mario finally decides enough is enough and he's through with playing games, and with the Mushroom Kingdom turning into a gigantic cash machine this time round, it's the perfect time to make a quick buck in the process - 'stuff the Princess – I'm-a gonna get me-a some money!'.
We sincerely doubt any of the above will happen though, and expect to be trekking half way around the world in pursuit of the Princess, with little more than a kiss on the cheek and some cake as a reward. What Nintendo presumably mean is that coin collecting is far more prominent, and more than just a means to get extra lives – New Super Mario Bros. 2 records every single coin you pick up in the game, and comes with a new Coin Rush mode, where the objective is to snaffle as many coins as possible from the three consecutive levels, before your record is sent to other people you walk past during the day with StreetPass.
The original New Super Mario Bros had the option to play with a friend in a series of mini-games, but the sequel takes this a step further, giving you and a friend the option to play through the entire game together, as Mario and Luigi, in a sort of scaled-down version of how the Wii game works. While it initially sounds like a cool concept, disappointingly, each of you will need your own copy of the game (and a 3DS each) in order to play, so for the majority of people (say, families, who share a single copy of the game around - and would possibly be the most likely to take advantage of any co-op option), it likely won't be used.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 glides onto the 3DS with the help of the Tanooki Suit on August the 19th in America, and while there's no European release date as of yet, we'd expect it to be around then too. Until then, here's a trailer: